Anger Management

So the sermon this Sunday was on "Slow to Anger". Generally, I don't think of myself as an angry person. But then I started to reflect on what had happened the night before.
I had been trying to put M down for a nap, just after we had started a game of Cities and Knights (expansion of Settlers of Catan) with my parents. She fought me for a while, and then drifted off to sleep. Easy? Not so. As soon as I put her in her crib, those big brown eyes sprang right open and looked at me - this wasn't the sleepy child that was just in my arms! So after Mr Bink and patting did not help her get sleepy again, I picked her up. She fought me again. This time she spit out the pacifier a couple times, and I searched in the dark for it on the floor while trying to hold onto her as she tried to wriggle free from the swaddling. Finally, she drifted yet again off to sleep. I held her a little longer this time, just to ensure that she was sound asleep. I didn't want a repeat of the last time. I eased her gently into the crib, and as soon as her head hit the sheets...you guessed it, wide awake once again. At this point, I was getting a little frustrated with M...but even more so with my husband. Where was he? He hadn't even come in to check on me yet. He was too preoccupied with playing that stupid game. It's not that I wanted him to take over so I could play, I just wanted him to check on us. I picked M back up, who was now staring at me and grinning with her pacifier hanging out of her mouth. I started struggling in my mind. He had taken care of her all day, while I had essentially played. He needed a break; I understood that - that's how I feel most days during the week. (M spit out her pacifier again, and I was madly searching for it on the floor in the dark). But it had been thirty minutes. He could have at least come to check on us, but he's so obsessed with that stupid game that he forgets I'm struggling with OUR daughter in here. (where is that pacifier?) Okay, don't become angry. Remember our study in James, slow to become angry, slow to become angry, don't get angry. (found the pacifier, but now she doesn't want it. I hate it when she fights me like this). Why can't he just come ask if I need help. He doesn't have to take over; I don't mind doing this. He's so selfish! (lost the pacifier again) I do this all week, and he can't even handle one day. Wait, don't get angry. Don't get mad at him. He helps out a lot. He had her all day. Don't be angry. Then my husband came in to check on us...finally. And what did I do when he asked if he could take over? Despite my self talk and best efforts, I blurted out "No, just go play."
"Here, let me help you find the pacifier?"
"No, I can find it. Just go play."
"Do you want me to play for you?"
"No, just take me out of the game. I've missed too much already anyway. I don't want to play anymore."
Anger. I spewed forth venom and frustration and anger. Why is it that I feel like I'm getting angry at my spouse so much more often than before? I decided I better pay more attention to this sermon. I think it was being given just for me.
So what did I learn?
1. I am a selfish, selfish person. I need to pray every day that God helps me become Christ-centered, and not Tina-centered.
2. I am trying to meet a desire within me that only God can satisfy. I need to ponder this one a little more.
3. For me, slow to become angry doesn't mean that I can't feel angry feelings. But that I see those as a flag to stop and ask myself what need or desire am I trying to fulfill with something other than God? I also need to realize that my self-talk will not keep me from being and acting out in anger. I need to turn to God for help with that too.
I may not have it all down yet, and I'm sure that it's not the last time that I will speak in anger, but I think now I have a better approach to anger management.
To listen to the sermon, click here and select the one from March 5, 2006.

No comments: